Jan 1, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Happy New Year!

As you said goodbye to 2017, did you make the healthiest choices? Are you ready to make some changes?

If you woke up not feeling so great this morning, resolve to do better. Here’s how to start the New Year to feel a bit healthier all year long.

You have to do more than make the resolutions, though—you have to stick with them.

Here are five that you should stick to:

1. Breakfast, water, vegetables

You are what you eat—and drink.

Fuel up every morning with the most important meal of the day—as early as possible. It will give you energy, and keep you full so you so you don’t fill up on junk food later.

Before breakfast, start your day with a full glass of water. Why? Cleanse your body before you start the day. Not only does it clear your body of toxins, it also improves brain functionality.

At lunch and dinner, fill at least half your plate with vegetables. You’ll get fuller faster, cut down on empty calories, and fill your body with nutrients, water, and fiber.

2. Commit to realistic goals

Why? You’ll fail otherwise, and that won’t feel so great.

Commit only to what you can do in the timeframe that you have. Don’t stress yourself out with looming expectations.

Shift your mindset from thinking that getting healthy is too hard and takes too much time to think that you can break down the pieces into manageable bits.

Make your fitness goals fit your schedule and make them manageable with work, family, and personal life.

3. Sleep

Humans need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality sleep every night. What does this mean? It means you wake up feeling refreshed. Sleep helps your body ward off chronic illness and keep excess weight off.

If your sleep is consistently poor, make it better in 2018. Consider getting a sleep study done at a clinic. Having an outside expert evaluate your sleep can help you make a plan to improve.

Set the same sleep and wake time for yourself even on weekends—even though this sounds crazy, it works because your body develops a rhythm.

Sleep in a dark room—get light blocking curtains and minimize outside light. Also consider a white noise machine, or anything that might help block out extra noises—this is especially helpful if you live in a city.

This one’s important: pay attention. Shut off all electronics at least an hour before bed. Why? Backlit devices prevent melatonin—a hormone that prepares your body for sleep—from releasing in your brain.

Bottom line: consistent, dark, and quiet. Your body needs sleep to recharge and be your best self.

4. Write in a journal

Want to improve your well-being? Write more. To yourself.

Reduce the stress in your life by understanding yourself better. Record your significant achievements, your innermost thoughts, and ask yourself important questions.

The key is to give yourself the time and space to do it. You don’t need to write the next novel—just jot down a few thoughts about your day every day. You’ll be surprised at what you come up with.

5. Strengthen your social relationships

Not only is it fun to hang out with friends and family, it’s imperative to your well-being.

Harvard Medical School Women’s Health Watch reports that “people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.”

Science says it’s good for your body. Do more of it—and make sure you’re making healthy choices together.

Your takeaway? Feeling better is about doing better. Start now.

Learn more about health and nutrition.



Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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